Families Planning Water Activities this Summer, but Two in Ten Lack Good Swimming Skills

New American Red Cross survey reinforces need for water safety as nearly 80 percent of Americans plan to engage in water-related activities this summer.

Two in ten people planning to swim, boat or fish this summer cannot swim well, according to a new national survey by the American Red Cross.

Nearly 8 in 10 households (78 percent) are planning at least one water-related recreational activity this summer such as swimming, boating and fishing. However, 21 percent described their swimming skills as fair, poor or nonexistent – including three percent unable to swim at all, the Red Cross survey found.

“Learning how to swim and maintaining constant supervision of those in or near the water are crucial elements of water safety,” said Dr. Peter Wernicki, chair, Aquatics Subcommittee of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “This Memorial Day, as we head into the summer season, we urge families to make water safety a priority.”

Sadly, each year drownings occur, yet many could have been prevented:

  • One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a small child wear a flotation device is safer than providing arm’s-reach supervision.
  • One in five (18 percent) of adults are unsure what to do if they are caught in a strong current.
  • Nearly two in five (38 percent) recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.

The Red Cross recommends designating at least one adult to solely be responsible for watching those in and around the water – even if a lifeguard is present. Adults should be in the water with inexperienced swimmers and remain within arm’s reach of them.

This “arm’s-reach supervision” is safer than putting water wings or floaties on a small child, as these items are not designed to keep a child’s face out of the water and can leak, slip off and provide a false sense of security.

Children should not go near or enter the water without the permission and supervision of an adult. Those who own a home pool should secure it with appropriate barriers and install pool and gate alarms.

If caught in a rip current, people should swim parallel to shore until they are out of the current and they can safely make it to shore. However, 32 percent said they weren’t confident that they could actually do it.

Most adults – 80 percent – knew that throwing a rope or something that floats would be the best way to help someone struggling in deep water rather than going in after them.

Red Cross Aquatics Training

The Red Cross has been a leader in aquatics training for more than 95 years and has developed a comprehensive program starting with Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to about 5 years old) through lessons for adults. Participants learn swimming skills with a strong emphasis on drowning prevention and water safety.

Water safety tips and information can be found on redcross.org, and people can contact their local Red Cross to find out where Learn-to-Swim programs are offered.

For those who own pools and hot tubs, the Red Cross has a Home Pool Essentials™: Maintenance and Safety online safety course that teaches the fundamentals of creating and maintaining a safe environment.

The Red Cross is also part of the planned 2011 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Tuesday, June 14, at 11:00 a.m. EDT at waterparks, community pools and aquatic facilities around the globe. At many locations, there is no cost to participate in this event, and more details can be found at www.worldslargestswimminglesson.org.


Survey details: Telephone survey of 1,085 adults U.S. adults 18 years and older on April 7-11, 2011, conducted by ORC International.  Margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent at the 95% confidence level. Polling included total sample of 175 African-American adults, with 82 included through a second wave of telephone interviews. Where appropriate, comparison values from a March 2009 poll have been included: Telephone survey of  1,002 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, 2009, conducted by CARAVAN® Opinion Research Corporation.  Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.


About the American Red Cross:


The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.



Great American Golf Ball Drop


You Won’t Want to Miss It!

On July 15th, up to 2,000 numbered golf balls will be dropped from a helicopter at Mid Vallee Golf  Course in De Pere to raise funds for the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin.  If your ball is the first to land in the hole or closest to the hole, you win $1,000 in cash!

Areas near the hole will be marked for other great prizes such as concert tickets, gift certificates, summer merchandise and more!

Enter for your chance to win today! Purchase your golf ball online or visit any Community First Credit Union location in Northeast Wisconsin for an entry form.

Golf balls will be dropped immediately following the Rick & Len Two Putz Golf Classic at approximately 5:30 p.m.  Participants may check their ball number
assignments by visiting NewRedCross.org.
You are welcome to stop out and see the golf balls drop!

All proceeds benefit local programs and services provided by the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin.

Good Luck!

8th Annual Rick and Len Two Putz Golf Classic! —– SOLD OUT!

The Rick and Len Two Putz Golf Classic returns for 2011…
even bigger and better… all to raise funds for the American Red Cross!

When: Friday, July 15th

Where: Mid Vallee Golf Course in De Pere

The Rick & Len Show LIVE from the Mid Vallee clubhouse, 6am-10am

Shotgun start: 10:00 am

Your entry fee gets you:

  • 18 holes of golf with cart
  • Box lunch (sandwich, fruit, cookie, & chips)
  • Two drink tickets good for beer, soda, and sports drinks
  • Swag bag with loads of free stuff!

Win a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, $10,000, or other huge prizes if you get a hole-in-one!

Red Cross holds Super Donor Days

Written by Kelcie C. McCrae Green Bay Press Gazette 

425 pints of blood collected at 2-day event

Registered nurse Lorrie John preps Joan Braekman before she donates blood. Braekman is a regular donor who has given more than 10 gallons of blood over the years. / Kelcie C. McCrae/Press-Gazette

Laure Cisler didn’t go to the 25th annual Super Donor Days just to donate blood.

She wanted to say thanks.

“I don’t know who the donors were when I received the blood 18 years ago,” Cisler said. “But I like to think they know who they are if they were here 18 years ago, I’d just like to thank them.”

The annual blood drive sponsored by the American Red Cross was held Thursday and Friday at Shopko Hall. Each year, coordinators try to collect enough blood to last through the Fourth of July weekend.

“Blood is needed each and every day,” said Dave Liethen, donor recruitment representative for the Badger Hawkeye Region of the American Red Cross. “Just because it’s the Fourth of July doesn’t mean that everybody is cured of cancer, people aren’t having heart attacks, or people aren’t getting in accidents and needing blood.”

It is because of annual blood drives similar to Super Donor Days that Cisler says she is alive.

“I was really lucky they held this event when I needed the blood,” she said. “You don’t know what tomorrow holds, whether it’s for you or a loved one, and there’s nothing that can replace that blood, so it’s necessary.”

Cisler’s life changed 18 years ago shortly after the Fourth of July.

Five weeks after she delivered her daughter Courtney, now 18, Cisler began to hemorrhage. She lost half the blood in her body, resulting in the need for donated blood. Now a healthy mother, Cisler, as well as her daughter, have become advocates for the American Red Cross and events that promote blood donations.

“It’s just nice to see all the people here willing to help people like my mom,” Courtney Cisler said. “They don’t know if it’s going to be someone that they know that they are going to be helping, and an hour of their time can give someone the rest of the rest of their life.”

According to Liethen, summer months trigger problems for blood donation centers. Many people are consumed with vacation time and leisure activities, which leaves donation centers dry.

Just like groceries, blood has an expiration date. Because it spoils quickly, they are trying to make sure they have enough clean and useable blood to supply those who need it.

A goal was set of 390 pints of blood to help serve throughout this holiday weekend. At the end the event, they received 425 pints of blood.

“This is the best two-day event since 2007,” said Liethen. “We’re really happy with the pints, it means that people who need it will receive it.”

Given their excitement on exceeding their goal, Liethen stressed that there still is a need for blood and encourages everyone to continue to stay informed on when and where a blood drive will be held.

“We need to make sure we have enough blood on hand,” Liethen said. “It might be something as simple as a trip to the grocery store, or a bite to eat and suddenly you get into an accident and find yourself on the receiving end.”

— kmccrae@greenbaypressgazette .com and follow her on Twitter @PGKelcieMcCrae.